Information for Prospective Buyers
We welcome your interest in the Creekside Commons community and want to help you learn more about us.
WHAT IS A COHOUSING COMMUNITY?
Creekside Commons is a multi-generational cohousing community built on the following principles:
Founding members at Creekside took part in planning and designing a community to respond directly to their needs and to the anticipated needs of others wanting to live in cohousing. The process began in December 2004 and continued actively through development and construction. Facilities were completed very quickly and smoothly and people moved in from July through the Fall of 2007. The participatory process continues with the ongoing management of our vibrant community.
The physical design and placement is 36 duplexed homes in three neighbourhoods (we call them pods) on 9 acres of land with plenty of greenspace. This design enhances and encourages community interaction while maintaining private spaces in and behind each home. Creekside is pedestrian oriented with parking at the entrance to the property. This keeps our living space peaceful, safe and attractive. Handcarts are used for transporting goods from parking lot to homes. Vehicles may be brought into the pedestrian area to deliver large or heavy items or in emergencies.
Private Homes Supplemented by Common Facilities
Cohousing communities consist of privately owned homes with common facilities available for use by all residents. At Creekside our ‘Common House’ includes a kitchen/dining area and outdoor patio, lounge, play room, multi-purpose activity room, guest rooms with bathrooms, mailboxes and a laundry room. Other community facilities include a woodworking shop & craft room, common gardens with a resident-built garden shed, orchard & greenhouse, a children’s outdoor play space, a composting facility, boat storage shed and common equipment shed. Each private residence is a completely self-contained duplex unit.
The people who live at Creekside manage the financial, landscaping and building maintenance functions of the community. We sometimes hire professionals to do specific tasks and we also rely on residents to participate in the care of the community, recognizing different interests & abilities. It is this level of volunteerism that builds strong bonds within our community while maintaining low strata/condo fees.
Non-hierarchical Structure and Decision-making
Our organizational structure includes a Council of the whole and a series of teams designed to share the volunteer workload amongst the members of the community. Decisions are made using a modified consensus process, which works to include multiple points of view and reflects choices that are for the good of the whole community. We’re using a broad and inclusive consultation process, sometimes starting with an informal 'fireside' chat to explore new ideas and then bringing the idea to teams. If needed, a proposal goes to Council. The evolving process gives everyone lots of opportunities to contribute to decisions and results in enduring decisions that people agree to maintain.
WHAT IS OUR OWNERSHIP STRUCTURE?
Creekside Commons is a strata corporation subject to the by-laws and regulations of the Strata Act of BC. Each owner has title to their individual unit with its limited common property and shares the common facilities with all other owners. Each owner’s annual property taxes include a share of the taxes for the common facilities.
WHAT ARE THE BY-LAWS AND GUIDELINES FOR CREEKSIDE COMMONS?
Every resident is a member of the Community Council. We hold monthly Council meetings and teams have meetings as needed. We use a clearly defined modified consensus decision-making process, which is different from other stratas. Although Creekside is ultimately subject to the by-laws of the Strata Act, we have developed a set of bylaws with some unique clauses for our community. Please familiarise yourself with the by-laws and guidelines before submitting an offer on a home. Copies are available from the seller.
WHAT ARE CREEKSIDE’S COMMUNITY INTENTIONS?
While governed by the Strata Act, cohousing communities are not like typical strata properties. Early in our development process we identified the following common intentions:
Encouraging positive connections while honouring personal privacy
Taking responsibility individually and communally for our actions
Using the consensus process to enhance community decision making
Using resources wisely to care for the earth – reducing our personal footprint on the planet
Serving others, the community, and the world around us
Supporting personal growth and community evolution
Celebrating life together
Discussing and discovering the meanings of these statements for each of us is an ongoing process.
WHY DO WE PAY MONTHLY FEES?
As in any strata development, there is a monthly fee to cover the costs for maintenance of common facilities, insurance, services and major replacements as required. The fee at Creekside is currently $265/month for each unit. There is no differentiation in fee based on unit size.
The strata fee covers costs for things like water, insurance, landscaping, snow removal, cleaning of the common house, supplies for the common house, gardening, and community development. The strata fee also provides a pool of funds for future property replacement costs like windows, doors, and roofing. For 2018 $93 of our monthly fee is designated for the Property Maintenance and Replacement Fund, which totaled $241,738 as of December 31, 2018.
The strata fee does not cover property taxes, electricity, telephone, internet (we do have very affordable shared high speed internet available), or cable for individual units. Individual unit owners are also responsible for insuring their household contents. The annual budget is developed and approved by the community and the monthly strata fee may change to reflect approved costs. The current strata budget is available from the seller.
WHAT IS ‘COMMON LAND’?
Each unit has approximately 460 sq. ft of limited common property at the back of the unit. This is “private” outdoor space. All other areas in the community are common property and are subject to bylaws and guidelines for usage and alteration.
While part of common property, owners are encouraged to plant and maintain the front of their units and the side yard to the mid-point between two units. We encourage native, non-invasive and low water needs landscaping. Any plants and trees paid for and installed by an owner are the responsibility of that owner.
WHAT COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IS ENCOURAGED?
In cohousing communities, you are purchasing both a home and joining a community. At Creekside Commons we try to strike a comfortable balance between private and public/community life. Potlucks and other shared meals happen regularly for those who wish to attend. We celebrate festive holidays and the change of seasons together with a meal or celebration. Residents organize regular events such as movie nights, work parties, singing, dancing, yoga, play times, meditation and fireside chats.
Face to face communication happens naturally as people make their way through the community along with using supportive tools like an email listserv and a community calendar. Residents use the common house for private events if there is no conflict with a community event. Neighbourly cooperation is overall positive, but as in any community, disagreements arise from time to time. If residents are unable to come to resolution on their own we have a team of volunteers to assist in conflict resolution.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE?
For more information about cohousing Canadian Cohousing Network.
Creekside Commons tours are scheduled for the second Sunday of each month by registration only.